Monday, January 21, 2013

Christmas Break Part I: Preston

 We headed for Preston Saturday morning on the 22nd of December.  We ended up getting there fairly late and then ended up sleeping off a long day on Sunday.  So, our festivities began Christmas Eve on Monday.

The Bennett tradition is to have a family dinner and then break a pinata Christmas Eve night, so everyone headed to Grandma and Grandpa Bennett's house on Monday night.  We had great soup and then everyone headed out to the garage for the pinata.  Amanda picked the pinada this year and they could only find cake and Santa.  In Amanda's words, she "felt uncomfortable beating the crap out of Santa and then asking him to bring her gifts," so needless to say we had a cake pinata this year.

Since Ellie is the youngest (who can participate) it was her job to start us off.  I wish I'd had video going instead of the camera...  Ellie took the bat, walked right up to the pinata, whacked it once, dropped the bat, and turned and walked away.  And then she refused to participate any more after that.  Needless to say, it was entertaining.
Instead, Ellie enjoyed passing her time petting one of the barn cats with Bridget and being held by people.

And Mckayla enjoyed a nap.
 Ellie wasn't the only one who enjoyed the friendly cat.

This picture is just after the pinada was broken.  You can tell because one of the little rubber balls flew into the propane heater and is burning in the background.  After the candy had been collected we all went back to the house fairly quickly to escape the fumes of burning plastic.

Once inside it was time to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.  We did a nativity activity where Kathy played the piano for the songs and Amanda read the scriptures with the help of her step-dad, Ryan.  Then Bridget read a story about the star that appeared the night that Christ was born.  Here is how Mckayla spent most of that time.  I'm not sure Uncle Curtis could tell you one song we sang...

Where as Ellie took to sitting with Grandma for much of the time and helped put the pictures on the Nativity scene.
After this the Roberts clan went home and everyone else got ready for bed since it would soon be time for Santa to come.  Ellie and Amanda were in the same bedroom, which worried us some, but we gave Amanda a long talk about telling Ellie to go to sleep  and then ignoring her if she tried to talk to her too much.  As expected, as soon as we turned on the monitor, we heard Ellie talking.  What we didn't expect was hearing her say "Amanda, go to sleep."  That kid cracks me up.

The next morning, it was time to head into the sitting room and see what goodies Santa had brought.

  This is what  the Christmas tree at Grandma and Grandpa's looked like before Santa came.

Ellie was so into her stocking, that she didn't even care about the presents at first.  All she cared was that she had candy and bubbles.  She was literally jumping up and down in joy about them.  What else could a girl want, right?

She was excited about presents though - at first.  She was so spoiled this year by family and Santa that she wore down way before she was out of presents.  But, she sure enjoyed playing with all her gifts later that day.

Like this awesome teepee that Grandma made for her and Mckayla.  Ellie likes to pile things lately, so that night when we moved the teepee we found everything from wrapping paper to my shoes, newspaper, toys, and everything else that wasn't tied down in the room in a pile in the teepee.
 She also especially loved this "wand" that goes with her magnetic fishing puzzle, and took that puzzle apart everywhere.  Oh, and you'll notice her very cute shirt here.  This is one of her favorites now as it is her "Amanda shirt" because her and Amanda had matching shirts for Christmas thanks to Grandma picking this one up for Ellie.

 This was Mckayla's Christmas outfit - the same as Ellie wore her first Christmas since their 2 month gap in birthdays has been overcome by Mckayla's much bigger size, so Mckayla is wearing the same clothes Ellie did at this time 2 years ago.  I also enjoyed using the little tuft of hair that didn't thin out much to make her first pony tail.  I fully realize it is both very cute and very ridiculous simultaneously.  That was the point.

Oh, Another of Ellie's favorite gifts was the dart gun set Daddy picked out for her.  Here they are with all the guns that Bridget, Tyler, Curtis, Ryan, Ray, and Steve shot the day after Christmas.

Christmas night we enjoyed a great steak dinner at Lori and Curtis's house and opened more family gifts. It was a great Christmas.

Wednesday was shooting time for all the guys since Curtis, Ray, Ryan, and Steve all recently purchased or were given new guns.  Here are all the guns that Bridget, Tyler, Curtis, Ryan, Ray, and Steve shot the day after Christmas.We had to include Ellie's nerf guns for good measure.

Thursday Steve and I headed to Logan so I could get my hair cut by Lori's neighbor who does a great job.  Then we stopped and chatted with Lori and Curtis for a while.  When we got back to Preston, we enjoyed time visiting with Steve's brother in-law Marlow, who rarely get to see, so that is always a treat.  He had Mckayla happy for several hours, which at the time was a truly amazing accomplishment.
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention this not so little guy.  Grandma and Grandpa found this Elmo second hand and picked him up for Ellie.  As soon as we arrived Saturday Ellie was so excited about him and carried him everywhere throughout the week calling him "Big Elmo" or "Huge Elmo".  Steve also helped Elmo sing Primary songs one night, which was rated highly for its entertainment value.

On Friday, most of us met up again in Salt Lake City, Utah to hang out and see the Christmas lights at Temple Square.  Ellie, Steve, Kathy, Amanda, Tyler, Ray, and Mckayla all went and played at the children's museum there while Reva, Lori, Bridget, and I went and looked around some shops.  Afterward we met up at the visitors' center where the Christus statue is.  We went and looked at it and the moment of the night for me was listening to Ellie tell us during the presentation "Jesus loves me.  I got a question for Jesus."  Even though she had no question and just likes the idea of asking questions right now.  After the Christus we watched a video the church presents on Christ's birth that ends with the line "A king is born" which Ellie later threw out at us when she heard mention of the Lion King.  That kids memory blows my mind.

After the visitor center we walked around and looked at lights and the nativity.  We didn't take too much time since it was COLD, especially for us Central Washington people who left temperatures in the high 40's less than a week earlier.  Ellie was so excited and yet reverent whenever she could see the temple and pointed it out over and over.  She had been asking us to see the temple for a while since we drove her around our local Columbia River Temple a while back and has been asking us to take her again ever since, but has been too sick to take out in the cold weather much.  We hope to take her to see our Temple again soon.

Here she was with Papa looking at the Nativity out on the reflecting pool next to the Salt Lake Temple.

We also made sure to grab a picture of our Forever Family at the Temple.  I love this picture, even if you can't see a bundled and sleeping Mckayla.

Since it was cold and getting late, we all walked up to Burger Ranch and had some tasty burgers before splitting up to head home.  I don't know that we could have asked for a better trip to Salt Lake.

Saturday night was also one of Steve and my favorite parts of the trip.  Bridget babysat our girls for us and all the adults headed to The Hobbit.  The movie was a lot of fun as we sat in the back and ate Subway sandwiches.  It was also really nice to be on a legitimate date with Steve and have pure adult time without the concern of when a baby will need to eat or what our toddler might be getting into.  We love our girls, but it was really good to have us time for the first time in months.

 Sunday we finally took it easy, going to church with Grandma and Grandpa and spending our last day with family.  We also took some entertaining family pictures where we were all dressed up.

 Here's Ellie pouting about taking pictures - unfortunately we have a lot of grumpy faced pictures lately...
 And Daddy trying to convince her that pictures are fun - and succeeding for exactly one photo.

Before church, with a much less grumpy  and tired Ellie, we managed to get a couple cute pictures of just the girls.
I know, we make stinking cute little girls.

Sunday night also found us at Lori and Curtis's house to say hi to their oldest daughter Erin and her husband Jordan as they got home Saturday night and we were leaving Monday morning.  All I have to report from that night is that Lori made the most delicious burritos I think I have ever had.  Ah-mazing.

Yup, and that pretty much sums up our first week of Christmas break.  It was busy, but it was so fun!  Monday morning we packed up and headed for Spokane - part II of our winter break!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Losing a 9 Year Companion

Because we had met my deductible for the year having Mckayla, we decided it was finally time to take care my wrist.  I've had a ganglion cyst on my left wrist since my Sophomore year of high school and each year it gets more painful and more problematic.  So, I headed to the doctor for it back in October, and the doctor tried to aspirate it, with no success.  That meant the only way to treat the cyst was to have surgery, but my doctor was no-nonsense and told me that because of liability nobody will touch pregnant women, which made sense.  That meant that we went back after Mckayla was born and scheduled an operation.  We decided that having surgery right before Christmas break would be best so that I could have help over break while I recovered.

So, on December 18th I checked into a surgery center here and had my wrist operated on.  Apparently it was good to get it taken care of as the doctor said I had a "grape cluster" of cysts above the tendon, and then a huge, single cyst underneath, which is really unusual but explains the pain I was having.  I loved my doctor, the anesthesiologist and nurses could not have been nicer, and everything went well.  It was really strange to have my arm completely numb and in a sling and not even be able to control anything.  And then as I could feel it I found myself wishing I couldn't, but the pain wasn't too horrendous and I didn't even have to take many of my big girl pain pills.  Each day was a little better and after 3 days I got to lose my soft cast.

Then, I had bandaids and my steri-strips over my dissolving stitches for a week and a half or so.  After that I just had to wait for the stitches to dissolve and the bruising to go away.

Here is what the scar looks like today.

Now my wrist is back to almost full capacities and no longer hurts whenever the weather is cold.  I look forward to being able to use my wrist fully in years to come.

Post-Thanksgiving Baby Blessing

 I am tired of being so behind on this blog... So, I am using valuable childless time to try and catch up tonight before I lose a lot of good memories to just being too far behind.
So, if I go back to the last major event that needs to be blogged, it is sadly, Thanksgiving weekend.  First, Ray and Reva came up to spend Thanksgiving with us and got here on Wednesday.  We had a fun Thanksgiving, but Mckayla's reflux (undiagnosed at the time so nothing we could do for her) was so bad that I spent all my time with a very fussy baby which left our guest Reva doing most of the cooking and cleaning for our Thanksgiving dinner.  Reva is so great she didn't mind, which was a good thing because Mckayla was a beast for many of those days.

Then, on Friday, most of Steve's family who was coming arrived.  Steve's sisters Kathy and Lori, Kathy's daughter Amanda, Lori's husband Curtis and their daughter, Bridget, all came for the festivities.  We had a fun night of Steve's new found chicken Parmesan recipe with more people than our supply of chairs could hold and as a result had people eating at coffee tables and on the floor everywhere.  We are amazing hosts....  But, we had lots of laughs before everyone headed to their hotel for the night.

Saturday was the day of gifts for Ellie. Kathy and Amanda brought her a puzzle and then Lori and Curtis brought her some activity books.  So, by the time my Dad, Kerry, and my sister Julie showed up that afternoon she greeted them at the door requesting gifts. I explained not everyone was bringing her and Mckayla gifts despite earlier events and that we don't ask people for presents.  Then "Grandma Sun" (Kerry) pulled out gifts.  Oh well, at least she's a grateful child and was sure to thank everyone.

Most of the guys went shooting at a local gun shop and range Saturday while the ladies hung out around the house with a cranky Mckayla and an Ellie who was beside herself with excitement at all the people there to play with.  Ellie was, as always, especially taken with Bridget and Amanda.  We heard a lot of "Amanda, go downstairs?"  "Come here, Amanda!"  "Where's Bridget?"  "Come play, Bridget!"  That kid can go and go....

We had a nice, laid back pizza dinner that night and just enjoyed family time.

Sunday we met everyone at church and Steve, Curtis, Ray, a Bishopric member Brother Anderson, and Bishop Lybbert  blessed Mckayla.  It was a lovely way to spend time with family and being grateful that Steve worthily holds the Priesthood and can bless our family with this gift from our Heavenly Father.

After church we came home and grabbed some pictures of our family really quick.

And then Steve set to his traditional welcoming of a baby into our family by cooking prime rib for lunch.  Once again we had people eating everywhere in the house, but it was a fun lunch to spend together before everyone had to hit the road to be home for work and school on Monday.

We were so grateful so much family was willing to make the very long drive to be here with us as we blessed our baby girl and introduced her to so many of the people who will love and teach her in years to come.